Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Evergreen That Isn't

Occasionally, Tom does a posting here, and today he's going to write about one of his favorite trees.

In late October the tamarack shows up, along with the poplar, as the last of the color in the forest. I grew up knowing the tree as the larch; my grandparents had a large one in their back yard. It has several names--larch, tamarack, hackmatack. It is the only conifer that sheds all of its needles every year, which makes it a deciduous coniferous tree. It prefers moist, swampy soil and doesn't tolerate shade well. Consequently, pines and spruce often overcome it, making it rarer than those two. In the spring, the needles sprout--a soft, vibrant green.


18 comments:

  1. I like learning new things about plants!

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  2. We have a huge one on our front yard (in the suburbs, so it has no competition). When we moved in our house 15 years ago, we travelled to my father in law's woods, and dug up a variety of trees - a red maple, a fir, a spruce, a pine, a willow. I think I was teaching a forestry unit in school, so was all up on my tree species.

    The tiny little tamarack (I've always called that tree a juniper for some reason) is now very tall, and we get lots of comments on it. I love how soft the needles are in spring.
    thanks for sharing Tom!

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  3. I love the name hackmatack! If I had one of these trees (if I had a yard) I'd call it that!

    I didn't know (seriously) that the tamarack was the same tree as the larch.

    I'm such a lazy nature lover -- am always posting pictures of flowers and trees that I have no idea of the name.

    Thank you Tom -- and Nan -- for taking time to share your knowledge!

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  4. Larch is almost the same word in German, Lärche. It is a beautiful and unusual tree, and I like the way its needles change from the soft green in spring to the deeper green in summer and then to the yellow-gold in autumn.

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  5. It is an evergreen with surprises. Beautiful fall color. It is especially nice that it takes you back to your grandparents place.

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  6. The tamarack is such a beautiful variety of tree! We used to see them on some of the trails we walked while living in SW Michigan! It as good to see it here--brought back many fine memories.

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  7. Well, thank you tom!
    I did not know this about the Tamarack/Larch tree. How very interesting and colorful in the fall.

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  8. It a menace here in Southern Utah, we destroy it because it drinks up so much water in the desert and our streams and rivers suffer! BLM has even brought in little critter that hatch and eat the trees to destroy them! For about 2 weeks in the early summer we are literally "bugged" to death by the critters but know it is a good thing! Funny you should mention how pretty they are there, green here too but...a menace! LOL I can see how they love to grow in your part of the woods!

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  9. Such a gorgeous header today, Nan.
    Nice to read Tom's post too. Tamarack. A new word for me.

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  10. Gorgeous and I LOVE hackmatacks. I had one that I bought at the San Francisco Flower and Garden Show (rare plant booth). Brought it home, potted it in a big terra cotta pot, and left it in the hands of my helper while I took a trip. When the larch dropped its needles the "helper" tossed it into the shredder. Heartbreak!

    Thanks for this post!

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

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  11. As the immortal Monty Python show had it: "No. 1 - The Larch". Such a lovely soft yellow and this time of year.

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  12. I love this fall photo. You have beautiful vistas all around you...lucky lady.

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  13. Great pictures, Tom, and interesting commentary on the tamarack, its colors and its names. As Kansas Citians, we just returned from a trip to New Mexico where we saw and learned about the pinon tree (the New Mexico state tree).

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  14. My grandmother had lots of tamarack trees at her house while I was growing up-I love them!! Thanks for sharing today Tom!

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  15. I love the tamarack...we have them here. They are such a lovely graceful tree, standing tall and proud in their autumn glory!
    Nan, I love your header: so gentle with subdued autumn colours...
    mellow & lovely!
    Thanks for the peek,
    Joanne

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  16. I just love the tamaracks -- I think they provide us with some of the best fall colour. I did a post of some of the tamaracks on the road to my parents' house, if you care to have a peek: http://nancybond.wordpress.com/2009/10/16/all-that-glitters-is-not-hardwood/

    Beautiful! Love your header photo, too...as always.

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  17. Tom here--Thank you all for your thoughtful comments. I never expected such a great number of responses. As Lisa said, the tamarack, larch, hackmatack is an evergreen "with surprises." And Linda, I was really surprised about the situation there about this water-loving tree. Maybe next May I could post about the lime green color and the soft texture of the emerging needles!

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Now that I am a grandmother, it seems that I am often late in replying to your most-appreciated comments. But I read them as soon as they come in, and I will write as soon as I can. Please do come back and check. I love these blogging conversations. A little addendum - I've just spent quite a long time catching up with dear notes you left me months ago!! I do hope you can get back to read them. And I'm trying to be much more prompt now!

Also, you may comment on any post, no matter how old, and I will see it.